Ice dams

What harm can a little water and ice do? A lot.

Ice dams form when snow melts and isn’t able to get off your roof. As it refreezes, it can damage your roof or walls. Here are few tips to keep that from happening and what to do if you get into a jam with an ice dam.
Be proactive and stop dams before they even get started.
  1.  Before the snow flies empty your gutters and make sure they are properly pitched and the downspouts are open. It also helps to make sure your attic is properly insulated and sealed -keeping the warm air in your home or building (lower heat bills!) and out of the attic where it can melt the snow.
  2.  When snow starts piling up on the roof, pull off the first three feet or so with a snow rake so the water can find its way down. Steer clear of falling snow avalanches and be extra careful if you’re using a ladder!
If that fails and you still get a dam, take action quickly to help prevent damage.
  1.  Use a roof rake to remove snow 3-4 feet from the edge of your roof. Be careful not to damage the roof. Don’t allow snow to build up around walking paths or block emergency exits.
  2. Use a calcium chloride ice melt product, which can purchased from most local hardware stores. Don’t use rock salt or sodium chloride, they can damage your roof.
  3. Fill a nylon stocking with the calcium chloride ice melt and place it vertically across the ice dam so that it can melt a drainage channel through the ice.
  4. Cover and protect shrubbery and plants with lightweight tarps near the gutters or downspouts for as long as the calcium chloride stockings remain in place. This is important because the calcium chloride-saturated water dripping from the roof can damage them. 
Again, if you’re on a ladder, be extra careful or consider hiring expert help.
If some damage does occur, contact your insurance provider to discuss options. Insurance Advisors at Think can be reached at 1-800-443-6316.